Tuesday, March 16, 2010

History of Nordic Mythology VIII: Descendant of the gods

Dear Hyperborea Exists followers, I’m here with you again to bring you another chapter of the history of Nordic mythology, to complete this cycle of updates in the blog step by step. Today I’m going to make an introduction to the so-called descendants of the great gods, a series of tales about some of the most relevant mythological Nordic figures after the great father, Odin.

Many Germanic tribes had myths that they linked its reign with the gods. Often it was Odin, the most powerful of them all. One of the most antique and well-known Germanic myths reaches us through the Long Bard historyographs (?) in the VI and VII centuries, and tells us a battle between two Germanic tribes: the Wandali (Vandals) and the Winnili. The Wandali asked their main god, Godan (Wodan or Odin), to grant them victory. On the other hand, the Winnili were led by Gambara, the wise and old mother of their bosses, Ibor and Aio, who prayed to Godan’s wife, Frea (Frigg).

Frea advised the Winnili warriors to stand on the East in the morning of the battle and that their women went with the men to the front, and put their long hair across their faces. Godan had planned to grant victory to the first army he saw at dawn. The next morning, after looking through his favorite window that overlooked the East, he saw the Winnili already set up and asked: “who are these Long Bards?” After he named them, Frea said that he was obliged to grant them victory, and after that name they built their kingdom in what was to be known as Lombardy, on the north of Italy.

Angel, on an altar of the Lombard king Rachis, VIII century. The Long Bards originally came from the south of Sweden, but they established themselves in Italy and gave name to the region of Lombardy. Some tales explain that, when they became too big in number, the Winnili divided between three groups and draw between them to stay in their territory. The group headed by Ibor and Aio lost, so they left in search of a new land.
In this tale, the authors reveal some influences on their interpretation of the classic couple that governed the gods, Zeus and Hera. But this tale, undoubtedly old, proves that even halfway through the first millennia of our era, Wodan or Odin and his wife Frigg already were the powerful ancestral deities from which the royal Germanic families, along with entire tribes, wished to born.

Although it is Odin the one who always appears as the divine ancestor in the Germanic royal families’ genealogy, at least in Sweden they honored the god Freyr, as ancestor and as guardian and protector of the royal house of the Ynglingar, house of which the Norwegian royal family deducted a while later.

Even when he was often considered as the god of fertility, mostly because the statues in the Viking era and the pocket-held talismans represented him with an erect dick, in reality he was considered as the archetype of the Swedish royal family, represented by the kings of the antique Uppsala (center of the Swedish power in the VI century and later on, and even nowadays a religious and cultural focus). His characteristic virility was surely related to that image of a young and powerful king, just as his attribute, the wild boar, another symbol of strength and wealth.

The soldiers that formed the Swedish royal guard in the VII and VIII centuries had helmets decorated with a metallic wild boar. Their link to the Ynglingar house could be seen even in the nickname they gave to Freyr. Yngvi-Freyr, that maybe is a very antique name that comes from the Germanic tribes mentioned by Tacitus, who they called themselves Ingaevons.

And with this we reach the end of this chapter, the next will have as protagonist the tale of Freyr and Gerd the giant, that is a part of the Skirnismal poem from the Edda in prose by Snorri Sturluson.

I want to use this also to share with you that the Hyperborea Exists page has already gone over the 100 fans. See how every week more and more people show their interest in knowing more about our history and the mythology is something really rewarding.

Thank you so much for your support, Hyperborea Exists followers!

Note. You can find some of the info included in this series of chapters in the book Mythology/: Myths, Legends and Fantasies/ by Global Book Publishing, a great work to introduce yourselves into the general mythology of every culture in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment